The Pittsburgh Steelers are an organization which loves consistency. In fact, you would think they are so infatuated with consistency it could potentially hold the organization back in some instances.
Nonetheless, the change many fans of the Steelers desire took place organically last offseason when Kevin Colbert retired as General Manager (GM) of the team after the 2022 NFL Draft.
After an extensive search, the Steelers settled on Omar Khan as the team’s new GM. Considering an in-house hire didn’t shock anyone, many just assumed it would be more of the same from Khan and company. However, if you pay attention, things have been done differently in Khan’s brief stint as the man-in-charge.
There are instances like the Chase Claypool trade to the Chicago Bears, and the willingness to part ways with players and replace said players via free agency. But there’s more to it than just those obvious changes. Within the front office have been changes across the board.
Bringing in people like Andy Weidl, assistant GM, have proved to be extremely valuable to Khan and the organization this offseason.
“The benefit of having new people in the building is that they’ve had access and gotten to know players and other places,” Khan told Dale Lolley of the Steelers official website in Phoenix at the league meetings. “I put a value on that. And Andy obviously knew those players and was able to vouch for them not only as players – you know, we can evaluate them on film and come up with a grade and decide whether it would work or not – but just having it’s an advantage to have extra people in your building. Now I can kind of tell you about the person and how they are off the field and in the locker room.”
With the addition of Weidl, and an almost entirely new scouting department, how will things function differently? Or will they even change at all?
“I’d say for the most part, the process is very similar to the way we did it before but just having fresh ideas, you know, Andy [Weidl], Mark Sadowski, Sheldon White, just just hearing how they did certain things,” Khan said. “We’ve incorporated some of those ideas without getting into detail.
“When we went to the Senior Bowl, we added some different things to how we looked at things. But we’ve had some great, fresh ideas from those guys. But for the most part, I’d say it’s the same, very similar.”
Speaking of the lead up to the 2023 NFL Draft, Khan foresees this draft as a good one, and one where he feels fortunate to be his first draft as the Steelers GM.
“This is a really good draft and I’m very fortunate that my first draft is really good,” Khan said. “So I love the idea of having a lot of picks, but you know, all options are on the table. Obviously there’s an opportunity to trade up to get a player that we think that’s an impact player and can help us right away, or be a good long-time Steeler, we’re going to evaluate it, but all options are on the table.”
While Khan talks about leaving all options open in the draft, the same can be said as the team continues to make additions via free agency. The most recent acquisitions, Keanu Neal and Breiden Fehoko, would certainly point to a team who isn’t done making moves.
“We will keep evaluating what’s out there,” Khan said. “There’s still a lot of good players out there. You know, and as much as we’re interested in them, they’ve gotta be interested in us. So we’re still going through that process. So that’s not going to stop. We’re still evaluating everything.”
While many fans expect nothing more than the status quo from Khan as the in-house candidate to succeed Colbert, it certainly doesn’t seem like that’s been the case at all. Khan has been willing to make smart, educated moves, all while staying within the basic framework the Steelers like to operate under.
How he handles the upcoming draft will be very telling on whether he will handle things differently, or similarly, to the way Colbert did for 20+ years on the job.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they press on throughout the 2023 NFL offseason.